Transmission Trends for 22
- Jan 5, 2022 1:46 pm GMT
Grid operators and owners will have a lot to look forward to in the New Year. Here are five areas of advancement, and some predictions about the sector's future.
Gassing about Hydrogen
Although there are technical difficulties with storing and moving hydrogen around, green hydrogen, made from renewable sources is going to be one of the many technologies we will need if we are to have a viable energy transition to Net Zero. Hydrogen is a possibility for base-load power onto the grid, which is going to be critical if we add more intermittency via renewables. Are vehicles powered by hydrogen going to compete with battery-powered EVs? Major companies like Hyundai and BMW are developing them. Hydrogen power will continue to be an important topic in 2022 as the technology starts to mature.
Cutting Carbon and other Emissions
A lot of coal-fired power stations are due to be retired worldwide, as a component of the drive to get carbon emissions down. The Energy Information Administration (EIA) expects about 65 GW of US coal power will be decommissioned between now and 2030, and it reports that nearly 90 GW has already been closed down since 2011. The latest EIA data also forecasts that renewable energy in the U.S.A. will make up half of the energy generation mix by 2030. This will mean a lot more investment and innovative technology will be required to reach this ambitious target.
Electric Vehicles (EVs)
The market for EVs is opening up. Global sales will reached seven million vehicles in 2021, which is more than double the previous year's sales of 3.2 million. With more charging points, and improving battery technology there should be a see a significant uptake in these vehicles. This will mean more pressure on the grid network to deliver the electricity to make these cars work.
Much of today’s electricity delivery infrastructure is getting on and obsolescent and needs to be upgraded. In many cases, T&D grids are functioning in ways far beyond their original design parameters. We need to speed up infrastructure upgrades and use government and local funding to create additional technology development, which is a must if the T&D grid is going to keep up with the energy transition.
Advanced Digital Technology and Analytics
This final trend synergises with the first four. Transitioning to a decarbonized gird will require data collection and advanced analytics that can manage large amounts of intermittent energy, use electricity from DERS and EVs, efficiently create hydrogen from renewable energy, and build a T&D infrastructure where digital sensors collect data and computers analyze it and implement operational decisions. In 2022 and beyond, we will see more of the grid being controlled and operated by artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML), with IoT devices also increasing. More data, faster networks, and greater processing speed will enhance human decisions and unleash the capabilities needed to create the transmission and distribution grid of the future.
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